Frozen Harvest

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 05/06/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Joseph Benedict, born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, spent eight years in the US. Air Force before joining the corporate world. For the past nine years, Benedict has been a writer who tells his company narratives through articles, features, and press releases. Benedict loves the creative process of telling a good story and maintains a blog where he publishes his works of fiction and daily human struggles. Benedict currently makes his home in Camden, SC.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Frozen Harvest is a sleuth murder mystery written by Joseph Benedict. Winter in Minneapolis held few charms for private investigator Joel Vicks. It was mid-December, and the roller door that separated his unfashionably dreary warehouse offices from the grimy piles of snow outside did little to keep him warm or instill any holiday cheer. His business hadn’t been very impressive of late and his broken marriage and spreading waistline made him far too aware of his current age and physical shape. When the postman dropped his mail into the metal slot, Joel noticed one envelope that wasn’t the typical junk letter or bill. It was an old and somewhat discolored envelope, addressed in careful cursive handwriting, whose blobs made Joel think they were penned by an old-style fountain pen. The return address was the clincher, however, for Joel -- Seven Lakes, Minnesota. He knew that area well, having spent many summers there with his family. And although the writer of the letter was now suffering from advanced dementia and could offer no information, Joel still found himself gradually and steadily unwrapping the years separating him from that December when a young woman left the hotel where she was staying and walked out into a snowstorm, never to return.

Joseph Benedict’s paranormal Frozen Harvest is a fast-paced and thrilling look at an investigation into a cold case that had only one witness who still cared enough about the victim. This well-written and atmospheric story keeps the reader on their toes as they follow Joel Vicks’ investigation and try to keep the paranormal and the actual straight in their minds. The author switches from 1925 to the present day adroitly and gives the reader enough background each time to make the time switches easy and enjoyable. His characters are finely honed and authentic, especially that of private investigator Joel Vicks who, in my opinion, deserves more cases to mull over and solve. The plot is byzantine and twisty in a lovely fashion, and the book is grand fun to read. Frozen Harvest is most highly recommended.

Susan Sewell

A decade-old letter sent to a private detective launches an investigation into a missing person case lost in the mists of time in the captivating sleuth mystery, Frozen Harvest by Joseph Benedict. Mary Benton, a stranger in the community of Seven Lakes, vanished in a blizzard, and Timothy was the only one who saw anything. That was over seventy years ago. Feeling that his time is limited, Timothy reaches out to Joel, the best private investigator in the state. Unfortunately, the letter is lost and doesn't get mailed for ten years. After reading the letter, Joel locates Timothy in a nursing facility in Seven Lakes, several hours away. However, he is several years too late. Timothy is incapable of talking, and Joel takes his clues from an old photograph in Timothy's room. Can Joel solve the case before the leads to Mary's disappearance are lost forever? Or will Timothy die first?

Frozen Harvest by Joseph Benedict is an absorbing mystery moving between the present and 1925. Taking place during a Minnesota winter storm in both timelines, an uneasy feeling influences the plot, creating a foreboding atmosphere. Diverging into two stories, the past and present run parallel to each other, converging in a fascinating finish. All of the characters appear sufficiently developed and engaging, even the offensive antagonist. I immediately connected with Joel Vick's character; his empathy created a surprising paranormal twist. Mary's story imparts insight into the plights of a single woman trying to build a life in a 1920s small community. All of these elements put together create the perfect novel for cold-case murder mystery buffs.

Jessica Barbosa

Joseph Benedict’s Frozen Harvest starts when Joel Vick, an independent investigator, receives a mysterious letter from a man named Timothy Williams who claims to know the truth behind the disappearance of Mary Benton. Mary Benton is a woman who disappeared ninety years ago and whose death had been ruled as an accident, but if the contents of the letter are true, there may be more to the case than anyone first thought.

Frozen Harvest gives an interesting look into the profiles and points of view of the people, directly and indirectly, involved in the ninety-year-old case of Mary Benton. What I love about Joseph Benedict’s work is that I see the point of the view of the victim, therefore I understand her and also feel attached to her. This made the story have even more of an impact on me. Another thing I love about this book is the main character, Joel Vick. He is a mix of cleverness and sharp instincts, two necessary traits for a great detective. I love how he notices the smallest, most interesting details most people overlook. Sometimes though, his great intuition can get him into trouble if he’s not careful.

Frozen Harvest is a great book that hooked my attention from the very first chapter. I eagerly anticipated and followed Joel as he tracked down clues that might have been overlooked when Mary Benton’s case was ruled as an accident. He didn’t give up until the very end and that makes me appreciate him even more, both as a detective and as a decent person. This was truly an intriguing and exciting read! This is the type of book that held my curiosity right until the end. Great job!